Have you ever been on vacation and can’t find a gym? Or have you ever been uninspired by your usual workout routine?
Today I am going to give you some tips on how to create your own HIIT workout that you can do anywhere! HIIT is a great way to fit in a fast, efficient workout.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and traditionally means giving everything you’ve got for short intervals, followed by short periods of rest and recovery. (For best results, active recovery should be the name of the game, not absolute rest.) The intervals can range from 15 seconds to 1 minute each, and can be combined for up to 4 minutes. If you perform at high intensity for longer than 4 minutes at a time, your body can switch from anaerobic energy to aerobic, which is kind of not the point of HIIT.
HIIT workouts push your body’s need for oxygen, which is what creates the afterburn effect and helps you burn more calories. This afterburn effect is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption Period. When your body asks for more oxygen, it forces energy from fat cells (stored glucose) to be burned as fuel.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT has many benefits, one of which is time. A great HIIT workout need only be 20 minutes. You can get the same health effects from 20 minutes of HIIT as you can from running at a steady-state for 60! How great is that? (I know I love to get back more ‘me’ time each day.)
High intensity intervals boost your metabolism. Some people even see an increase in metabolic burn up to 48 hours after a HIIT workout.
And, you don’t need any special equipment for an effective HIIT workout! While you can do some HIIT workouts with equipment, the point of HIIT is to go all out during each interval, and that can sometimes be tough if you’re trying to handle dumbbells or a BOSU ball.
Structuring Your HIIT Workout
As I mentioned, intervals can last from 15 to 60 seconds each, and be combined to create a sequence that lasts up to 4 minutes. The shorter your sequence, the more effort you can put into it, and the more you’ll get out of your workout.
HIIT Workout #1:
One of my favorite (and one of the easiest to set an interval timer for) is the 30 second interval HIIT workout. I like to pick 4 exercises and do each for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of active recovery. Repeat the sequence 3-4 times before moving on.
HIIT Workout #2:
Another great interval sequence is Tabata. Tabata follows a 20/10 rule, whereby you perform a single exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. You can also alternate between 2 exercises during a Tabata routine.
HIIT Workout #3:
Following a 1 minute of high intensity work and 2 minutes of active recovery is another great option, especially for running or cycling. You can do these outside or at the gym on cardio equipment. If 1 minute of high intensity isn’t enough for you, switch out an active recovery minute with another high intensity move.
I know it can be tough to keep moving after an all-out burst of exercise but active recovery will benefit you in the long run. Active recovery not only helps you burn more calories (because you’re still moving); it also helps to remove any metabolic waste that builds up during those high intensity intervals. It’s this waste that leads to lactic acid build up and post-exercise soreness. Removal of waste will give you more energy for your next burst of intervals.
A HIIT Sequence with Active Recovery Example
Not sure what I mean by active recovery? Here is one example of what a Tabata sequence would look like with active recovery.
20 seconds of Squat Jumps followed by 10 seconds of Squats, repeated 8 times.
See? You are still moving your body but just not as intense of a speed, giving it time to recover a bit before your next burst.
My Favorite HIIT Exercises
Bodyweight exercises are king when it comes to HIIT workouts.
A few of my favorite moves for total body fitness and best results are:
- Burpees (with or without a push-up, plank jack or jump)
- Power Squats
- Jump Squats
- Star Jumps
- Plank Jacks
- Sumo Squat Jumps
- Jump Lunges
- Push Ups (with or without a plank jack)
- Commando (or Up/Down) Plank
- High Knees
- Lateral Jumps
Some great active recovery moves include:
- Curtsy Lunges
- Reverse Lunges
- Alternating Forward Kicks
- Squat Hold
- Sumo Squat Pulses
- Plank (any variation)
- Jumping Jacks
- Butt Kicks
- Skater Jumps
- Side Lunges
- Basic Squat
Basically, you can incorporate any exercise that really gets your heart rate up during the high intensity interval. And, for active recovery, choose something that keeps your body moving. Because the high intensity intervals focus mostly on the lower body, you might want to do upper body moves with dumbbells or resistance bands (i.e. biceps curls, triceps extensions) for your active recovery.
Ready To Get Started?
Before you begin your new HIIT workout, make sure you warm up first. Perform a low-impact version of some of the exercises you plan to do during your HIIT cycles for 5-10 minutes. Get that heart rate up a bit.
And, always stretch and cool down after your workout to be safe. Never sit or lie down when your heart rate is still really high – it’s dangerous to your heart and brain.
Download your FREE HIIT templates by clicking on the link below and have fun!